The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Opinion

June 15, 2014

OUR VIEW: Shoe Our Children program donations good for the ‘sole’

- — OK, we realize that most children are still celebrating the end of the 2013-14 school year and don’t want to think about classes resuming in the fall.

But there are many local children who really dread hearing about the new school year more than others. Those are the boys and girls who can’t afford a decent pair of shoes to attend school.

In order to help those children, The Herald’s annual Shoe Our Children program is under way.

The program, which operates through The Herald’s Good News Fund, is a three-month appeal that runs through the beginning of September.

Far too many kids are forced to attend school in shoes that are ill-fitting. That is damaging both physically and mentally for young children. But when your family has a hard time just putting food on the table, items like clothing and shoes take a backseat. That’s why the program is so important. And for the last 10 years of The Herald’s involvement, many individuals, businesses and industries have stepped up to help those kids.

During that period of time, more than $250,000 was raised to provide footwear for children.

The late James E. Winner Jr., former chairman of Winner International in Sharon, started the program 15 years ago. He said that he rarely had a good pair of shoes to attend school and wanted to make sure other children didn’t feel the same pain.

Today, thanks to the cooperation and support of Karen Winner-Sed, who succeeded her father at Winner International, the fund has helped to provide thousands of pairs of shoes to children in Mercer County school districts and in Brookfield.

The Jubelirer family, owners of Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon, has been a faithful supporter and has donated more than 8,000 pairs of shoes.

Other businesses and industries have also stepped up, as have many caring individuals throughout the Mercer County area.

Shoes are delivered at the beginning of the school year, when employees from Winner International give up some of their lunch hours to help. Application forms are sent to schools and distributed to parents. And the distribution continues throughout the school year.

Organizers of the program never know who is getting the shoes – they just receive orders for certain sizes and ages.

Individuals, businesses and organizations wanting to make a tax-free contribution should make their checks payable to The Good News Fund/Shoe Our Children and mail them to Nancy Ash, in care of The Herald, Box 51, Sharon 16146. Contributions also may be dropped off at The Herald office, 52 S. Dock St., Sharon.

The fund offers residents the option of making a donation in the name of a friend or family member. The names of donors are published in The Herald periodically throughout the appeal. A complete list of donors will be printed at the end of the campaign.

Being a member of the Community Foundation of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania (Shenango Valley Foundation) gives The Good News Fund tax-exempt status.

It also assures donors of strict accountability and conformity to Internal Revenue Service regulations.

Some area families encourage their own children to give up a small amount of their allowance or maybe one new item of clothing for school and donate to the fund so that other children may have a good fitting pair of shoes.

And remember the motto of the Good News Fund: “Don’t give ’til it hurts; give ’til it feels good!”

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